The stacked entry field for the Aegon Classic has been hit by another blow after it emerged today that world number three and 2015 finalist Karolina Pliskova has withdrawn from the tournament with an elbow injury.
Pliskova, who has been one of the standout performers on the WTA Tour this year, reached the semifinals of the French Open last week and has not recovered in time for what was set to be her grass court debut this season, though she is still set to take part in the Aegon International in Eastbourne the week after.
The withdrawal of the Czech is another blow for the tournament, with the likes of Maria Sharapova and defending champion Madison Keys amongst those who have already withdrawn.
Pliskova’s absence notable despite packed field
The field still has some notable names in it despite the withdrawal of the likes of Pliskova, with French Open finalists Jelena Ostapenko and Simona Halep and world number one Angelique Kerber all set to be in action, though the Czech’s absence is likely to be a noticeable one.
Pliskova has been one of the most inform players this season, is currently ranked second in the Race To Singapore, and has arguably been the most consistent, being the only women to reach the quarterfinals at both Grand Slam tournaments, rather surprisingly in Paris, so far and winning two titles.
The Czech would have most likely been the favorite for the title in Birmingham, considering her success this season and the fact that her big game translates almost perfectly to the surface. However, it is understandable as to why she has decided to rest her elbow, with finalist points to defend in Eastbourne, as well as the fact she has a good shot at winning her maiden Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.
2015 finalist's withdrawal the latest of many
Though the field for the tournament is still strong, Pliskova is another well-known name who has been forced to pull out.
Perhaps the most notable withdrawal so far is that of Maria Sharapova, who is out of the grass court season following the ligament injury she sustained in Rome following her return from her ban, though the withdrawal of defending champion Madison Keys is also notable; the American has been injury-stricken throughout the whole season, and could now begin to slip down the rankings.
Former Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska’s below-par season has also continued as she has been forced to withdraw due to illness, with Charleston champion Daria Kasatkina and Indian Wells champion Elena Vesnina also out due to injury.